Friday, April 10, 2009

Sunday Evening - May, 1998

a thin shimmer of rain wets asphalt
tires squeeze sound as they press
black wetness
rushing somewhere
rushing going nowhere
but here

voices praising the Lord
with gold
with sacrifice
and pleabargaining
counting the costs
calculating the next
charitable tax deduction

passing discarded souls
judged too soft in a hard place
discards including
children and the childlike
abandoning dreams
that failed
and the frenzied
search for more

drawn to the pulsing glow
of neon that flashes
in the darkness
promising power
promising release from pain
with nothing down
and eternity to pay

- - - - - - - - -

Three months into analysis, living alone, adds up to some serious negative mind spaces. It is much too soon for new life to be found amng the wreckage of the inner world and the outer world has been denied, the status quo has been denied leaving the soul vulnerable.

Go Inside - June, 1998

go inside
to a place of bitter memories
call out to that
bleeding and abandoned child
listen to the tales
that need telling
to the crying
of a wounded soul
listen uncritically
as the arrows are pulled free
exposing raw wounds
and somehow
find love for this
wounded soul
and for the "other"
who wounded
- - - - - - -
The process of analysis uncovers a lot of pain, a necessary process that frees the psyche of unacknowledged suffering. Shadows are brought to the light so that they lose their power, a power of darkness.

New Life - June, 1998

Woman with a man standing beside her
Both holding hands and waiting
Filling moments with words that
Have no meaning within themselves
Having meaning just for their sound
While they wait.

A tightening and the hands react in
Hightened anticiption, in a bit of fear
Practiced ritual breathing takes both
Through the tension of the moment
And then a release of the tightness
Again, the waiting.

Pain rises and falls in rhythmic patterns
The intensity banishes reason and all
That is wanted is release, retreat to a
Time when there was no birthing pain
Anger and shame, yet still clinging
Still waiting.

A cry, a moan escapes despite resolution
Fear of this inner self, this stranger who
Threatens survival, who shakes to the core
Until all that is wanted is to slip into
A place of unconsciousness
Into darkness, waiting.

Then the crowning
The light touches hair
That is like dark silken strands
Hair that has been drenched
By a quick summer storm
Then the head emerges
A slow turning
Allowing the body to flow
Following the change of vision.

- - - - - - - -

A close reading, perhaps a second reading will make you aware that this isn't about the birth of a child. Rather this poem is about the process of breaking out of a depression,out of old destructive habits in order to allow a newer version of "self" to come to life. In this case, the journey was shared with a partner standing close by giving what she could.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Naked Dream - November, 1996

stripped ... exposed ...
clothes lying scattered
shamed ...
private parts, dark zones
uncovered ... humiliated
an object observed
sy soul-less eyes

are the shadows
needs, desires
fears and needs again
... inadequate ...

judged ...
a betrayer
for abandonment of "other"
the sentence ...
banishment from community
confinement in solitude

- - - - - - - -

This poem is a direct response to Aldo Carotenuto's book, Eros and Pathos. What struck me the most when finishing the book was the sense of isolation and the knowledge that I was faced with choices. What to risk? What would I gain? What would I lose? I knew that loss was to occur regardless of the choices I would make. However, I also knew that to avoid making choices would result in the greatest losses.

Hostage - November, 1996

the silence
echoes loudly
drowning the wails and wimperings
of abandonment

a mask
black oval orbits
mirrors an outer world

behind the silence
and the mask
a faint thread of light
held hostage

- - - - -

I wrote this poem in late 1996 while in the midst of reading Eros and Pathos, a book by Aldo Carotenuto, about a month after my counselling retreat. This was a time when I was treading a downward spiral into self-abusive depression. This poem marked a brief moment of light during a weekend spent in the city with my son - a weekend when I was the hero for my son, and a demon to my "self".

Monday, March 23, 2009

Matin silent, matin de Noël - December, 1997

Pas de bruit ce matin
Sauf pour un vent leger
Qui fait danser ...
Sauf pour une horloge
Qui fait voler ...

Regarde par la fenêtre
Pas de neige
Seulement la terre endormie
Pas d'enfants
Seulement la balançoire démunie

Regarde dans le salon
Un arbre garni de lumière
Un symbole visuel
Un espoir promis et mystère
Ce matin de Noël

I do write in French as well. It was Christmas morning. And like most other mornings, I was up long before anyone else. It wasn't always like that on Christmas mornings, but little children grow up to become adults. That growing up steals the magic from them so that they learn to sleep in later, even on a magical morning. I decided to leave the poem in its original French rather than translate it here fearing that to much would be lost, especially with the passage of years since the poem was written. As you will notice, I have used a blue type for the poem in order to represent the language, the language of my ancestors.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Are You My Mother? - July, 1998

A woman-child only sixteen
not yet married six months
gave birth to a boy-child
is now a mother.

Holding babe to breast and the milk of life
while in a foreign place exiled from family
into a riotous place tangled and tumultuous
being mothered and smothered in
sweaty and musky closeness
is now, again, a child.

A woman-child, a mother-child
pregnant again.

And he left her for military service
for the glamour of the big gun
left her in his mother’s care
alone in the crowd
to give birth to yet another son.

And he returned to a hero’s welcome
returned to act the man, the husband
and she moved in with him
and is now, wife-child.

And who is mother while this woman-child
this mother-child, this wife-child
has eyes and focus on this hero?

And the first born wanders lost and frightened
through the world of the feminine
asking, “Are you my mother?”

This is a difficult subject to bring up, that of mothers. As you can probably guess, this is my story, the story of my mother. She was a young and vibrant teenager who fell under the spell of "Tristan and Isolde" when she met my father. This makes for a powerful love tale. However, it wasn't a good time, it was an interesting time. She lost her rights to her parents' home and went to live with her husband's parents while he went off to Korea. When he came home, the spell was still upon her and the offspring continued to arrive with little delay. I was the first born and have wrestled with being motherless, with taking on the role of mother to my younger siblings as I got a bit older. Yet for all that, I have no anger. I willingly spend time with this woman and guard the sadness in knowing she never got to know her first child.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Unio Coniunctionis - December, 1976

Sheathed in translucent silk baring your beauty softened
you appear before my eyes a phantom
Shadowed and erotically luminous in the light glowing
from our joint soul

Your eyes, glowing sapphires, filled with a promise of passion and hinting of magic and mischief
Eyes that invite my soul to a dance, to feast in communion.

Bending the texture of silk, your breasts, perfect
nourrishing me with their milk, your tenderness and love

Aureoles encircle fountains that feed both body and soul
aching for the tug of tongue and lips
and the kisses of need.

Framed in the strength of body
erotically alive to my touch,
the birthplace of passion and the human race
A place of mystery, shadow and magic.

Within your depths, this homeland of the soul, I am reborn
Reborn in love, a love child, a loved man.

Your centre, a warm hearth that embraces,
melts denials and banishes shadow
Life ... creation ... love flows as warm nectar
in moist union of spirit.

Thus two become one
and the universe is complete through the communion of souls
A sacrament of love between ghosts
A song between soul mates.

For a period of time after completing my Master's program, I found myself almost zombe-like in relation to people. In the autumn, I sought help with a reaching out to another man who became my counsellor. He didn't waste much time before suggesting that I attend a retreat session for teachers such as myself, who were struggling. I knew that this was important, and attended. While there, I began to listen to different music, really listen. I also began to re-establish a routine of meditation, something that I used to do more than twenty years earlier. My dreams began to make themselves more present. It is around this time that I saw that I had ignored my soul, the anima. I had to begin to develop a relationship with my soul. Curiously, it meant that I had to fall in love with it, to acknowledge it. Yet, at the time, I heard, saw and felt this need but refused to understand. And so, it remained something simply trapped in my head.

Alchemy and dangerous acids - 1997

a small hole
drawing inward
edged in white heat
a solar event

and the psyche
writhes unseen
victim of a


This poem written in the middle of October, not long after I had written "I am here", traces an increasingly downward spiral into a cauldron that appears to be being heated, ready to burn the contents of the cauldron. The door to the unconscious contents had been opened and my conscious self was not yet aware of how to close the door, a skill which I had been so deft with over the decades. Control. It was slipping significantly. Daily it was more and more of a struggle to go to work and pretend that I was engaged, pretend that I was sane. I knew better. And, I continued to work small spells of concealment, hiding the truth of what was happening to me, even from my "self".

I am here - 1997

I am here ...
caught between night dreams
and the world of day
eyes ringed with sleep
again disturbed

I am here ...
in this netherland of
current and cursor
eyes tracking
the flow of words

I am here ...

Nineteen ninety-seven. At this point of my life, I was seriously coming unglued plagued by dreams that I called "nightstorms" and living a nightmare both at work and at home. None of these nightmares were due to anyone or any circumstance of my daily life. No, it was all about inner shadows demanding to be acknowledged and released from their solitary confinement. The Internet was the medium in which finally I was able to "know" that it was all about within and not without.